Top 5 Influential Women in Basketball


3 minute read

In celebration of National Women’s Day, we’ve paused our daily activity to take a look at the most influential and inspirational women in basketball. Women have been balling almost as long as men, and their accomplishments are astounding. The list of women we could include on this list is long, but we’ve narrowed it down.

We can’t have this list without Sandra Berenson.

Known as the Mother of Women’s Basketball, she attended Smith College back in the 1890’s, where she pioneered women’s basketball. Note: Men weren’t allowed to be spectators at their games.  She penned the first official rulebook for Women’s Basketball.  No one with ovaries would be in the game if it weren’t for her.

Lisa Leslie 

Lisa is a three-time WNBA MVP and a four-time Olympic gold medal winner. The number-seven pick in the 1997 inaugural WNBA draft, she followed her career at the University of Southern California with eight WNBA All-Star selections and two WNBA championships over the course of eleven seasons with the  href=””>Los Angeles Sparks, before retiring in 2009. Leslie was the first player to dunk in a WNBA game.

Candace Parker 

Candace is a WNBA player who plays for the Los Angeles Sparks. Parker has won a WNBA championship (2016), two WNBA Most Valuable Player Awards (2008, 2013), WNBA Finals MVP Award (2016), WNBA All-Star Game MVP (2013), two Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012), and the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award (2008). Parker has been selected to six all-WNBA teams and five all-star teams, and was the first player to win the Rookie of the Year and the WNBA Most Valuable Player Award in the same season.

Maya Moore 

Maya is an American professional basketball player for the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA. She is currently on sabbatical. Naming her their inaugural Performer of the Year in 2017, Sports Illustrated called Moore the greatest winner in the history of women’s basketball. Moore has won four WNBA championships (2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017), a WNBA Most Valuable Player Award (2014), a WNBA Finals MVP Award (2013), three WNBA All-Star Game MVPs (2015, 2017, and 2018), two Olympic gold medals (2012 and 2016), a WNBA Scoring Title (2014), and the WNBA Rookie of the Year Award (2011).  She has also been selected to four WNBA All-Star teams and three All-WNBA teams.

Sue Bird 

Sue is an American professional basketball player for the Seattle Storm of the WNBA. Bird has won three WNBA championships with the Storm (2004, 2010, 2018), four Olympic gold medals (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016), two NCAA Championships with UConn (2000, 2002), and four FIBA World Cups (2002, 2010, 2014, 2018). She is one of only 11 women to attain all four accolades. She is also a five-time EuroLeague Champion (2007-2010, 2013).  During her WNBA career, she has been selected to eleven WNBA All-Star teams and eight All-WNBA teams. Additionally, in 2011, she was voted by fans as one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All Time and was voted into the WNBA Top 20@20 as one of the league’s Top 20 Players of All Time.

And there you have it.  If we were forced to narrow it down to five, this is who we would choose.  BUT, there are thousands more out there, and we respect them all.  Mad props to you, you fierce female warriors!  Happy International Women’s Day!